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Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Mar. 22, 2013by: JimmyO

PLOT: After Cobra Commander takes control of the United States government, the G.I. JOES find that they have enemies in high places. This brings down a deadly ambush upon our heroes leaving the Joes under fire. In order to fight back they must band together to fight a battle that places the entire earth in jeopardy.

REVIEW: What do you do when you have an epic scale action movie that didn’t necessarily thrill audiences like it was supposed to? Well, for starters, you could add Dwayne Johnson to the cast like Universal did for FAST FIVE. He helped reinvigorate that tired franchise thanks to his solid on-screen presence. Of course, this is exactly what Paramount did for their franchise hopeful, Hasbro based feature GI JOE: RETALIATION. This slick and stylish (and still a little dumb) summer blockbuster is an improvement over the first for several reasons. The first being a stronger cast. Many of the original actors are gone – besides Channing Tatum, Ray Park, Arnold Vosloo Jonathan Pryce and Byung-hun Lee, all of whom stuck around – and the chemistry between the actors is infinitely better this time around. Johnson and Tatum make for a match made in action flick heaven, especially since the chemistry between Tatum and Sienna Miller in the first film was non-existent.

The story here is – not terribly surprising – pretty standard for a movie such as this. Some bad guy wants to destroy the world and blow everything up to gain supreme power. It is always fun to see this kind of cliché mocked in other films like DESPICABLE ME or recently on an episode of “American Dad.” Of course any self-respecting G.I. JOE fan is well aware of Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey/Ladson Deyne) as well as Zartan (Vosloo). Then you have Storm Shadow (Lee) and the fantastic Ray Stevenson tearing things apart as Firefly, definitely giving our heroes a run for their money. Loyalties are tested and one character questions his own beliefs, and London, England is royally screwed thanks to a preposterously deadly weapon.

The good news is that this feels very much like what you would hope from a G.I. JOE live action feature. Director Jon M. Chu really brings this sequel to life with wall to wall action that is most definitely bigger, badder and better than the first. Starting with an early sequence where several members of JOE are ambushed in a surprisingly brutal attack. The violence is swift and doesn’t feel as clunky as it occasionally did the first time around. Most impressive is one thrilling set piece involving Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes (Park) which takes place on the side of a snow covered mountain. And lest I forget, Ray Stevenson kicking all sorts of ass in one hell of an exciting prison break.

Aside from Stevenson, it is great to see Mr. Bruce Willis again, in a flick which is more fun than his other recent franchise entry. There is a real sense of camaraderie with this cast that also includes the lovely Adrienne Palicki, the always terrific Walter Goggins and of course Jonathan Pryce as the President. Most of the film revolves around Johnson however and he was absolutely the perfect choice for G.I. JOE. He is a natural at playing a hero and clearly is built for it as well. He also has the ability to work well with others thanks to a believable bond he shares with Tatum as well as the rest of the cast. It is a noticeable improvement.

Before writing this I revisited RISE OF THE COBRA which admittedly is a guilty pleasure for me. The problems with the first film including zero chemistry between the film’s leads, questionable dialogue and not so special effects are obvious yet it worked for me on an almost camp level. Call it nostalgia, but watching the original film was the cinematic version of reverting back to childhood. With RETALIATION, Cho improves on many of the problems that occurred in COBRA making for a much better movie going experience. The script here by Rhett Reiss and Paul Wernick (ZOMBIELAND) adds a little more fun into the mix and while it may not win any awards, it is definitely more akin to the source material. Your inner child may have fun with this flick but unlike the first, RETALIATION is exciting enough to let your grown-up self in on the enjoyment and not feel as guilty about it.

GI JOE: RETALIATION is also visually a better film, even with the post conversion 3D which mostly adds to the film. Clearly they spent some time on the process and the end result is all the better for it. It does suffer from far too much CG, but it's freaking G.I. JOE so what else would you expect from a Hasbro based feature film. RETALIATION has the popcorn feel of RISE OF THE COBRA and even a few of the faults including a predictable plot as well as some silly dialogue - Shakespeare this is not. What it is however is exactly what the first movie should have been, an exciting and explosive action flick. It features a game cast including the dynamic duo of Tatum and Johnson as well as a kickass Stevenson. And most importantly, it features a nice balance of badassery and humor without taking itself too seriously or sacrificing the thrill of it all. This is what fans of G.I. JOE fans were hoping for. It’s getting to the point that we should just give Dwayne Johnson a shot at all the big summer blockbusters in need of repair.

Source: JoBlo.com

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8:45AM on 03/29/2013
I thought it was a blast.
I thought it was a blast.
Your Reply:



8:13PM on 03/23/2013

I'm sold.

I wanted to see it just because of Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. Add in Ray Stevenson, whom I believe to be one of the most underrated actors working today (his turn as the Punisher was cold, fierce, and brutal, and his role in this last season of Dexter really wowed me). I hated the first one. Shallow, stupid, and just overall poorly done, I never expected to WANT to see another one.
I wanted to see it just because of Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. Add in Ray Stevenson, whom I believe to be one of the most underrated actors working today (his turn as the Punisher was cold, fierce, and brutal, and his role in this last season of Dexter really wowed me). I hated the first one. Shallow, stupid, and just overall poorly done, I never expected to WANT to see another one.
Your Reply:



4:15AM on 03/23/2013
Wow! I didn't really know what to thinks during the build up of the release. I was pumped to see it last summer, Then was pissed off, like many of you, when it was pushed back to March. It looks like the studio made a good decision, so far - I hope the box-office matches your glowing review. Misspelled name in article: Zartan not Vartan :)

I bet I'm not the only one to wonder what Paul Shirley thinks of the movie. He has been a big supporter of the build-up like many of us. He broke the
Wow! I didn't really know what to thinks during the build up of the release. I was pumped to see it last summer, Then was pissed off, like many of you, when it was pushed back to March. It looks like the studio made a good decision, so far - I hope the box-office matches your glowing review. Misspelled name in article: Zartan not Vartan :)

I bet I'm not the only one to wonder what Paul Shirley thinks of the movie. He has been a big supporter of the build-up like many of us. He broke the news of the date change etc.
Your Reply:



4:49AM on 03/23/2013
Thanks for the heads up;) My mind completely skipped over the V thinking it was a Z.
Thanks for the heads up;) My mind completely skipped over the V thinking it was a Z.
10:59PM on 03/22/2013
I'm glad you liked it JimmyO. I was rooting for this not to suck.
I'm glad you liked it JimmyO. I was rooting for this not to suck.
Your Reply:



7:09PM on 03/22/2013
This if off topic but Dwayne Johnson didn't reinvigorate the Fast and Furious franchise, or this either. Nonetheless, this movie looks fun.
This if off topic but Dwayne Johnson didn't reinvigorate the Fast and Furious franchise, or this either. Nonetheless, this movie looks fun.
Your Reply:



8:41PM on 03/22/2013
Finally... somebody not in love with Dwayne "The tooth fairy" Johnson!!
Finally... somebody not in love with Dwayne "The tooth fairy" Johnson!!
2:14AM on 03/23/2013
IMO, the Rock is overrated! I'm not hating the guy, just stating the obvious.
IMO, the Rock is overrated! I'm not hating the guy, just stating the obvious.
-3
6:08PM on 03/22/2013
I only want to know one thing: Why the hell isn't the full summary on Wikipedia already?
I only want to know one thing: Why the hell isn't the full summary on Wikipedia already?
Your Reply:



-49
5:46PM on 03/22/2013

Hmmm

This is a very poorly written review. It sounds like the reviews I wrote for my local paper when I was 13 (they just let me write basically to be nice and because they had the room to do it). It's really bland, and only talks about the film" not being Shakespeare" and "Ray Stevenson kicking ass." It does nothing to persuade me to see it or avoid it. It really doesn't describe the film at all, at least not any more than the trailer does, or what the general audience knows about any movie
This is a very poorly written review. It sounds like the reviews I wrote for my local paper when I was 13 (they just let me write basically to be nice and because they had the room to do it). It's really bland, and only talks about the film" not being Shakespeare" and "Ray Stevenson kicking ass." It does nothing to persuade me to see it or avoid it. It really doesn't describe the film at all, at least not any more than the trailer does, or what the general audience knows about any movie starring the rock. It was really bad man. And this guy is the leader of the site?
Your Reply:



8:38PM on 03/22/2013
This is a very poorly written comment. It sounds like the comments I wrote on my bathroom wall when I was 13 (they just let me write basically to be nice and then they cleaned it up later). It's really bland, and only talks about the review "being really bad".
This is a very poorly written comment. It sounds like the comments I wrote on my bathroom wall when I was 13 (they just let me write basically to be nice and then they cleaned it up later). It's really bland, and only talks about the review "being really bad".
8:45PM on 03/22/2013
I´m with you bealzf. That´s whay I toght....
I´m with you bealzf. That´s whay I toght....
10:25PM on 03/22/2013
Yeah, these reviews aren't written to persuade you, junior, they're just the reviewers opinions. If you want someone to be a salesman for you then go suck Kevin McCarthy's dick...or go to rotten tomatoes.
Yeah, these reviews aren't written to persuade you, junior, they're just the reviewers opinions. If you want someone to be a salesman for you then go suck Kevin McCarthy's dick...or go to rotten tomatoes.
4:07AM on 03/23/2013
"And this guy is the leader of the site?" JimmyO wrote this great review and has been a member of the staff for a long time. JoBlo is the big boss man. Just to reiterate - they are two different people.
"And this guy is the leader of the site?" JimmyO wrote this great review and has been a member of the staff for a long time. JoBlo is the big boss man. Just to reiterate - they are two different people.
+10
4:18PM on 03/22/2013
All I want to know is, how does Cobra Commander sound? So far all I see are pics of him. Did they get him right?
All I want to know is, how does Cobra Commander sound? So far all I see are pics of him. Did they get him right?
Your Reply:



3:55PM on 03/22/2013
Really digged the first one, flaws and whatnots aside, so it's good to hear that this one might be (even) better.
Really digged the first one, flaws and whatnots aside, so it's good to hear that this one might be (even) better.
Your Reply:



-29
2:47PM on 03/22/2013
I saw the ninja sequence online, it really isn't very well done, let alone thrilling. If that is the most impressive thing then it doesn't bode well for the rest of the movie.
Here it is, on the Paramount International channel:
[link]
I saw the ninja sequence online, it really isn't very well done, let alone thrilling. If that is the most impressive thing then it doesn't bode well for the rest of the movie.
Here it is, on the Paramount International channel:
[link]
Your Reply:



3:43PM on 03/22/2013
Please tell me you are being sarcastic? That was very well done & got me wanting to see it on the big screen.
Please tell me you are being sarcastic? That was very well done & got me wanting to see it on the big screen.
2:46PM on 03/22/2013
Like I had mentioned in the movie jail for Tatum, the first Gi Joe does grow on you & is gaining cult status, I would think it should be an awfully good article at some point.. The sequel I was looking forward to & was surely bummed when it was delayed to convert to 3D (why didn't the studio just admit that). I knew adding The Rock & Willis would help boost it up a notch. Maybe summer season starts in MArch this year.
Like I had mentioned in the movie jail for Tatum, the first Gi Joe does grow on you & is gaining cult status, I would think it should be an awfully good article at some point.. The sequel I was looking forward to & was surely bummed when it was delayed to convert to 3D (why didn't the studio just admit that). I knew adding The Rock & Willis would help boost it up a notch. Maybe summer season starts in MArch this year.
Your Reply:



2:42PM on 03/22/2013
This review is like you saw the movie in june 2012 with the excitement of the first promos and that. You don`t say anything about how much screen time has Willis or Tatum, and if Tatum´s character aditional scenes works, and things like that. Just "it`s better than the original" and I love "The Rock" so much... please be more informative about the movie! Seriously... I can´t stand The Rock!
This review is like you saw the movie in june 2012 with the excitement of the first promos and that. You don`t say anything about how much screen time has Willis or Tatum, and if Tatum´s character aditional scenes works, and things like that. Just "it`s better than the original" and I love "The Rock" so much... please be more informative about the movie! Seriously... I can´t stand The Rock!
Your Reply:



8:41PM on 03/22/2013
If the extra scenes work then you won't know they are extra scenes.
If the extra scenes work then you won't know they are extra scenes.
8:44PM on 03/22/2013
Yes, probably you´re right. But we all know Tatum wasn´t supossed to be here so much, so I still don´t buy this review. Need more information!!
Yes, probably you´re right. But we all know Tatum wasn´t supossed to be here so much, so I still don´t buy this review. Need more information!!
2:17AM on 03/23/2013
I, too, find it funny when people said the Rock help resurrect franchises like this and FF. Those movies will be fine with or without his presence. I'm not hating on the guy but I think he's a little bit overrated.
I, too, find it funny when people said the Rock help resurrect franchises like this and FF. Those movies will be fine with or without his presence. I'm not hating on the guy but I think he's a little bit overrated.
2:18PM on 03/22/2013
Glad to read the great review. This will probably be one of the more fun trips to the theater this year.

Movie looks great and I hope it does well at the BO. I'll be rooting for it.
Glad to read the great review. This will probably be one of the more fun trips to the theater this year.

Movie looks great and I hope it does well at the BO. I'll be rooting for it.
Your Reply:



2:17PM on 03/22/2013

Transformers

Transformers anyone?
Transformers anyone?
Your Reply:



2:04PM on 03/22/2013

Transformers

Transformers anyone?
Transformers anyone?
Your Reply:



+8
1:48PM on 03/22/2013

wow, great to hear!

Will be seeing it for sure now. I thought the original was a flawed but somewhat enjoyable movie as well -- I mean it wasn't good but there was some good cheese enjoyment in there for sure. This one sounds actually better in every way though, and it's cool to hear about the 3D conversion... maybe they did take their time to do it right instead of just using it as an excuse to 'fix' a crappy movie... nice review!
Will be seeing it for sure now. I thought the original was a flawed but somewhat enjoyable movie as well -- I mean it wasn't good but there was some good cheese enjoyment in there for sure. This one sounds actually better in every way though, and it's cool to hear about the 3D conversion... maybe they did take their time to do it right instead of just using it as an excuse to 'fix' a crappy movie... nice review!
Your Reply:



1:38PM on 03/22/2013
What a good surprise.
I was wondering about the post 3D convertion. I might watch it in 3D after all.
What a good surprise.
I was wondering about the post 3D convertion. I might watch it in 3D after all.
Your Reply:



1:33PM on 03/22/2013
I'm glad to hear this didn't suck! Thanks Jimmy.
I'm glad to hear this didn't suck! Thanks Jimmy.
Your Reply:



1:32PM on 03/22/2013
My chief complaints with the first one were that it didn't seem very much like GI Joe and that Stephen Somers indulged in some really antiquated views on women in combat (Heavy Duty blasts all the mind controlled male henchmen but only fires warning shots on friggin Baroness!?!? Thats like passing up a shot at Bin Laden.)

Other than that, I actually kind of enjoyed the first flick. Built to a pretty good climax, Snake Eyes was badass, and Michael Bay was nowhere to be found.

So if this
My chief complaints with the first one were that it didn't seem very much like GI Joe and that Stephen Somers indulged in some really antiquated views on women in combat (Heavy Duty blasts all the mind controlled male henchmen but only fires warning shots on friggin Baroness!?!? Thats like passing up a shot at Bin Laden.)

Other than that, I actually kind of enjoyed the first flick. Built to a pretty good climax, Snake Eyes was badass, and Michael Bay was nowhere to be found.

So if this flick brings better action, better character development, is more like the comics & TV show, and allows the lady Joes to be the equals to their male counterparts that they are in the source material, I'm hip.
Your Reply:



+15
1:25PM on 03/22/2013
8 out of 10 surprises me. I had hoped the film would be better, but I didn't expect it to get this kind of score. I was planning to check this out anyway, but this gives me hope.
8 out of 10 surprises me. I had hoped the film would be better, but I didn't expect it to get this kind of score. I was planning to check this out anyway, but this gives me hope.
Your Reply:



1:19PM on 03/22/2013

yes...

Your Reply:



-28
1:17PM on 03/22/2013
If the original was a guilty pleasure for you then it's hard to trust this review. The original was the worst movie of 2009. Why does this site fawn over shitty "old-school" action movies?
If the original was a guilty pleasure for you then it's hard to trust this review. The original was the worst movie of 2009. Why does this site fawn over shitty "old-school" action movies?
Your Reply:



1:23PM on 03/22/2013
Probably cause they are fun to watch? I also consider it a guilty pleasure. It was nothing special, but it was fun to watch in theaters. Not every film has to reach some aspiring, high standard to be enjoyable.
Probably cause they are fun to watch? I also consider it a guilty pleasure. It was nothing special, but it was fun to watch in theaters. Not every film has to reach some aspiring, high standard to be enjoyable.
1:29PM on 03/22/2013
G.I. Joe wasn't even fun to watch. The action was uninspired and the effects were pretty low-grade too. If a movie's going to be nothing but shit blowing up, at least blow it up in style like Bay's movies.
G.I. Joe wasn't even fun to watch. The action was uninspired and the effects were pretty low-grade too. If a movie's going to be nothing but shit blowing up, at least blow it up in style like Bay's movies.
1:51PM on 03/22/2013
It was cheesy fun, which I can and did enjoy. He didn't say the original movie was the best movie of 2009, he said it was a guilty pleasure, which many people found it to be. Disappointing yes, but many people found something to enjoy myself included. It was fun for the cheese I think. And worst movie of 2009? If you think that then you really need to watch more movies man ;) In any case, too bad you thought differently.
It was cheesy fun, which I can and did enjoy. He didn't say the original movie was the best movie of 2009, he said it was a guilty pleasure, which many people found it to be. Disappointing yes, but many people found something to enjoy myself included. It was fun for the cheese I think. And worst movie of 2009? If you think that then you really need to watch more movies man ;) In any case, too bad you thought differently.
7:14PM on 03/22/2013
I'm with you Tony, I honestly couldn't stand that movie. Marlan Wayans was fucking awful, the special effects were terrible, and Stephen Sommers is the worst director ever! That being said, at least I'm slightly interested in this one, I may see it in theaters, but it's not high on my list.
I'm with you Tony, I honestly couldn't stand that movie. Marlan Wayans was fucking awful, the special effects were terrible, and Stephen Sommers is the worst director ever! That being said, at least I'm slightly interested in this one, I may see it in theaters, but it's not high on my list.